The Committee for Armenian Students in Public Schools (CASPS) presented its annual leadership workshop, “Connecting to Your Community” on March 2. High-achieving Armenian juniors in the four Glendale Unified School District high schools were invited and 70 students braved the rainy weather and attended the workshop at the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic church in La Crescenta.
CASPS Executive Director, Arsineh Hovannisian, welcomed the students and opened the workshop with the flag salute. After a brief description of the goals of CASPS, she introduced the Board members present. She welcomed Executive Team member and organizer of the leadership workshop, Medea Kalognomos, who gave the students a brief description of what the day had in store for them.
Kalognomos presented the first speaker of the day, Melina Sardar, M.A., CPLC, a life coach and counselor in the areas of career and emotional awareness. Sardar connected with and engaged the students by sharing her personal life journey. She used her life’s story to explain the difference between Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ). She explained that EQ is the ability to identify, understand, evaluate, and control one’s own emotions as well as the emotions of those around you. Speaking to the group of academically high achieving students, she reminded them that IQ “can get you in the door, but EQ will get you the promotion.” She urged the students to evaluate and monitor their EQ in order to be successful and a leader. She concluded her talk with a quick summary of the stepping stones of how to become a transformational leader.
Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan and California Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, representing the 46th Assembly District were the next two speakers. Both civic leaders shared their life experiences and their views on what activism and leadership mean. Both leaders also implored the students to expand their horizons by volunteering. Sinanyan informed the students about the Student Ambassador Program. He urged them to apply to this program in order to gain an understanding of how city council meetings are conducted.
Subsequently, Dr. Hayk Jernazian, a licensed clinical psychologist, specializing in depression, anxiety, trauma, substance abuse, and grief/loss gave a presentation to the students titled “Balancing Success and Psychological Health.” As with all the speakers of the day, Dr. Jernazian spoke to the students about the qualities of being a successful and healthy leader. He then led the students in case analyses, through which he elaborated on the ideas of identity development, confidence, and the importance of social interaction and relationships.
A group of enthusiastic young men from the UCLA’s AEO fraternity introduced the different Armenian organizations at the university and stated that the fraternity is considering how best to connect with Armenian high school students. The possibility of mentorship and/ academic tutoring is being discussed within the fraternity. They encouraged the high school students to persevere in the application process and extended a helping hand to anyone who needed their help in that process. The young men were met with great enthusiasm and many questions.
The workshop was brought to a close by Serob Abrahamian, Government Relations Coordinator at ANCA. Abrahamian familiarized the students with the mission and goals of the organization and introduced new opportunities available for growth. At the conclusion of the day, CASPS members were gratified to hear expressions of thanks from the high school students, and hope to see many of them apply the ideas and suggestions from the day and become our future leaders.